World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Article Id: WHEBN0000961356
Reproduction Date:

Title: Eddie Bernice Johnson  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Texas's 30th congressional district, Congressional Black Caucus, Beto O'Rourke, United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, United States congressional delegations from Texas
Collection: 1935 Births, African-American Members of the United States House of Representatives, African-American Politicians, African-American Women in Politics, Alumni of Women's Universities and Colleges, American Nurse-Politicians, American Nurses, Baptists from the United States, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Female Members of the United States House of Representatives, Living People, Members of the Texas House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Texas, People from Waco, Texas, Saint Mary's College (Indiana) Alumni, Southern Methodist University Alumni, Texas Christian University Alumni, Texas Democrats, Texas State Senators, Women State Legislators in Texas
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Eddie Bernice Johnson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 30th district
Assumed office
January 3, 1993
Preceded by Constituency established
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
January 1987 – January 1993
Preceded by Oscar Mauzy
Succeeded by Royce West
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 33rd district
In office
January 1973 – January 1977
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Lanell Cofer
Personal details
Born Eddie Bernice Johnson
(1935-12-03) December 3, 1935
Waco, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater St Mary's College, Indiana
Texas Christian University
Southern Methodist University
Profession Nurse
Religion Baptist

Eddie Bernice Johnson (born December 3, 1935) is a politician from the state of Texas, currently representing the state's 30th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. An African-American, she is the first registered nurse elected to the U.S. Congress.


  • Early life, education, and medical career 1
  • Early political career 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Elections 3.1
    • Tenure 3.2
      • Scholarship violations 3.2.1
    • Committees 3.3
    • Committee assignments 3.4
    • Caucus memberships 3.5
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life, education, and medical career

Born and reared in Waco, Texas, Johnson's first aspirations were in medicine. She could not attend college in her own state because of her race, so she left Texas and attended Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana, where she received a diploma in nursing in 1956. She transferred to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, from which she received a bachelor's degree in nursing. She later attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and earned an MPA in 1976.[1] She served as Chief Psychiatric Nurse at the Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital (the first African American to hold that position), and entered politics after 16 years in that position.[2]

Early political career

In 1972, as an underdog candidate running for a seat in the Texas House, Eddie Bernice Johnson won a landslide victory and became the first black woman ever elected to public office from Dallas.[3] She soon became the first woman in Texas history to lead a major Texas House committee, the Labor Committee. Johnson left the state House in 1977, when President Jimmy Carter appointed her as the regional director for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the first African American woman to hold this position.[4]

Johnson entered politics again in 1986, and was elected a Texas state Senator, becoming the first female and African-American from the Dallas area to hold this office since Reconstruction. Her particular concerns as a Senator included health care, education, public housing, racial equity, economic development, and job expansion. She served on the Finance Committee, for which she chaired the subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and on the Education Committee. Her interest in health care led her to write legislation to regulate diagnostic radiology centers, require drug testing in hospitals, prohibit discrimination against AIDS victims, improve access to health care for AIDS patients, and prohibit hospital kickbacks to doctors. As a fair housing advocate, she sponsored a bill to empower city governments to repair substandard housing at the expense of landlords, and wrote a bill to enforce prohibitions against housing discrimination.[5]

As a lawmaker, Johnson was able to bring to a public forum her fight against racism, though she faced discrimination herself in the legislature. "Being a woman and being black is perhaps a double handicap," she told the Chicago Tribune. "When you see who's in the important huddles, who's making the important decisions, it's men."[6] Johnson sponsored several bills aimed towards equity, including a bill to establish goals for the state to do business with 'socially-disadvantaged' businesses, and crafted a fair housing act aimed at toughening up fair housing laws and establishing a commission to investigate complaints of discriminatory housing practices.

In addition to her legislation, Johnson held hearings and investigated complaints. In 1989, she testified in a federal court about racism in the Dallas city government. In 1992, she formally asked the Justice Department to investigate harassment of local black students. That same year, she held hearings to examine discrimination charges about unfair contracting bids for the government's Superconducting Super Collider. One thing Johnson fears most about discrimination is the legacy it leaves for youth. "I am frightened to see young people who believe that a racist power structure is responsible for every negative thing that happens to them," she explained to the New York Times. "After a point it does not matter whether these perceptions are true or false; it is the perceptions that matter."[7]

U.S. House of Representatives


Midway through her second term in the state senate, Johnson opted to run in the Democratic primary for the newly-created 30th congressional district. She defeated Republican nominee Lucy Cain 72%-25%.[8] In 1994, she defeated Lucy Cain again 73%-26%.[9] In 1996, after her district was significantly redrawn as a result of Bush v. Vera, she won re-election to a third term with just 55% of the vote, the worst election performance of her congressional career. However, this election was held under unusual circumstances. All of the candidates in the race appeared on a single ballot regardless of party, and Johnson faced two other Democrats. Proving just how Democratic this district still was, the three Democrats tallied 73 percent of the vote between them. [10] Johnson has never faced another contest nearly that close, and has been reelected 9 more times with at least 72% of the vote. In the most recent cycle Johnson easily beat two opponents in the Democratic Primary, State Representative Barbara Mallory Caraway and lawyer Taj Clayton, gaining 70% of the vote; she went on to win the general election by a landslide, gaining almost 79% of the votes cast.[11]


The 17th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she was a leading voice in opposition to the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. During debate on the House floor, she stated:

"I am not convinced that giving the President the authority to launch a unilateral, first-strike attack on Iraq is the appropriate course of action at this time. While I believe that under international law and under the authority of our Constitution, the United States must maintain the option to act in its own self-defense, I strongly believe that the administration has not provided evidence of an imminent threat of attack on the United States that would justify a unilateral strike. I also believe that actions alone, without exhausting peaceful options, could seriously harm global support for our war on terrorism and distract our own resources from this cause."[12]

She was one of the 31 who voted in the House against counting the electoral votes from Ohio in the United States presidential election, 2004.[13]

In 2007, Congresswoman Johnson was appointed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) to serve as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment during the 110th and 111th Congresses. She was the first African-American and first female in Congress to hold the position of this Subcommittee Chair. While holding the position of Subcommittee Chair, Congresswoman Johnson sponsored the Water Resources Development Act. She successfully secured and led Congress in overriding President Bush’s veto of it. This was the only veto override during his presidency.[14]

During the 2007 primary campaign, Johnson initially supported U.S. Senator John Edwards for President. After his withdrawal from the race, she pledged her support as a superdelegate to Barack Obama and her district backed Obama heavily in the 2008 election.

Recently, the Congresswoman, along with Rep. Donna Edward (D) proposed a publicly funded park on the moon to mark where the Apollo missions landed between 1969 and 1972.The Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, H.R. 2617, calls for the park to be run jointly by the Department of the Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).[15]

Scholarship violations

In August 2010, Amy Goldson, counsel for the nepotism rule, and winners must live or study in the Congress member's district. Johnson said she "unknowingly" made a mistake in awarding the grants and would work with the foundation to rectify it.[16]

Johnson said, "I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one."

Soon after Johnson denied having involvement in the scholarship process, opponent Stephen Broden released letters bearing Johnson's signature in which the representative requested that the scholarship check be made and sent directly to her relatives instead of to the University as would normally be procedure.[17] Subsequently, the Dallas Morning News ran an editorial questioning her changing story on the matter.[18]


In December 2010, Congresswoman Johnson was elected as the first African-American and the first female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.[19] From 2000 to 2002, she was the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. Congresswoman Johnson been an outspoken advocate for the need to invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. In April, 2012 Johnson introduced the "Broadening Participation in STEM Education Act.” The “Broadening Participation in STEM Education Act” would authorize the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award grants to increase the number of students from underrepresented minority groups receiving degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The bill would also expand the number of faculty members from underrepresented minority groups at colleges and universities.[20]

Congresswoman Johnson is a current member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has been since being elected in 1992. She is also the highest ranking Texan on this committee. Congresswoman Johnson also presently serves on the Aviation Subcommittee, Highways and Transit Subcommittee and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee.

Johnson was handily re-nominated in the Democratic primary election held on March 4, 2014. She polled 23,688 votes (69.9 percent) to former state Representative Barbara Mallory Caraway's 10,185 (30.1 percent). Caraway has also run against Johnson previously.[21]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships


  1. ^ "JOHNSON, Eddie Bernice, (1935 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson". The History Makers. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Johnson, Eddie Bernice (1935- )". The Black Past. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Fair housing bill proposed". The Bonham Daily Favorite. December 22, 1988. 
  6. ^ Korosec, Thomas (August 19, 1990). "Eyes On Texas: Where Men Are Men And Women Run For Public Office". Chicago Tribune. 
  7. ^ Suro, Roberto (September 10, 1989). "In Dallas, Race Is at the Heart Of City Politics". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ "TX District 30 Race - Nov 03, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  9. ^ "TX District 30 Race - Nov 08, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  10. ^ "TX District 30 Race - Nov 05, 1996". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  11. ^ "US House District 30". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Johnson, E. B. (October 8, 2002). "Remarks during debate on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002". C-SPAN Video Library. 
  14. ^ "Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's Biography". Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson violated rules, steered scholarships to relatives". Dallas Morning News. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  17. ^ Todd J. Gillman and Christy Hoppe (September 8, 2010). "Letters bearing Eddie Bernice Johnson's signature ask that scholarship money be sent directly to her grandsons". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Editorial: Scholarship violations starting to overshadow Johnson's years of service". Dallas Morning News. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  19. ^ "Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson". The Arena. Politico. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  20. ^ Koebler, Jason (April 25, 2012). "Legislation Would Increase Minority Access to STEM Degrees". U.S.News & World Report. 
  21. ^ "Democratic primary election returns, March 4, 2014". Retrieved March 8, 2014. 

External links

Texas House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 33rd district

Succeeded by
Lanell Cofer
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Oscar Mauzy
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 23rd district

Succeeded by
Royce West
United States House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 30th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Alcee Hastings
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Peter King
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.